Monday, May 21, 2018

Hyperion / Oracle EPM 11.1.2.4.900 Release Observations

Oracle last recompiled EPM 11.1.2.4 on April 18, 2018, and branded the new release as EPM 11.1.2.4.900.  This updated release is the only version available for download on Oracle eDelivery, and it was published without fanfare or a press release in late April 2018 or early May.

I took 11.1.2.4.900 for a spin over the weekend, and here are my initial findings.

First, let's get this out of the way:













This hearkens back to the 11.1.2.0 release, when there was no migration path.  The vast majority of Oracle customers who wanted to upgrade from 9.x or 11.1.1.x wisely choose to wait until 11.1.2.1 was released, and I'm going to recommend that 11.1.2.4.900 be avoided for anyone who utilizes Hyperion Financial Reporting.

Let's review the pros and cons.


Pros:


  • The Reporting Analysis Framework “RM1” data folder no longer exists.  All Financial Reporting design/metadata now exclusively resides within the relational database, eliminating the requirement for a shared data folder when Financial Reporting is clustered.
  • The Reporting Analysis Framework Agent and Web Tier modules no longer exist.  This simplifies the footprint of the Financial Reporting stack.
  • We no longer need to remember to disable the unused Impact Management menu in Workspace.
  • The diagnostics/logs/ReportingAnalysis folder no longer exists, reducing log clutter and eliminating a troubleshooting point. 
  • The loganalysis report is no longer be flooded with “INCOMING CONNECTION ABORTED” from the GSM log, as GSM and its log no longer exist.
  • There is no longer a lengthy timeout delay when logging into EPM Workspace if the Reporting stack is offline.
  • The File->Import user interface in Explorer responds noticeably faster than prior releases.
  • As promised in previous Statement of Direction publications on Oracle’s website, both Hyperion WebAnalysis and Interactive Reporting are no longer available.  This is considered a “Pro” for installation consultants, but may be considered a “Con” for any Oracle customer who has not yet migrated their application content out of those old technologies.
Cons:

  • The command-line utilities to manage POVs and launch scheduled jobs are missing.  Oracle has noted this as a Known Issue, and has indicated the missing utilities will be re-introduced at some later date.  For some of our end-users, the inability to launch scheduled jobs for Financial Reporting from an external scheduling tool is a deal-breaker.
  • The ability to export multiple folders from Explorer has been removed; folders may only be exported one at a time.
  • There is no clear migration path from any prior release to 11.1.2.4.900.  While Financial Reporting 11.1.2.4.900 is exposed to LCM, the LCM folder structure is different between 11.1.2.4.900 and all prior releases.  In the 11.1.2.4.900 readme, Oracle states “You cannot upgrade to this release from a previous release. If you are using release 11.1.2.4.xxx, install a new 11.1.2.4.900 environment and create new applications.”
  • The initial pop-up error we used to receive when the Reporting Analysis Framework Agent and Web Tier weren’t started in the proper error has been replaced with a different error.  We have a brand new error message for end-users to hound us about.






  • The 11.1.2.4.900 readme states ADF patch # 24113405. is required.  This patch does not exist, and the installation consultant needs to perform a search for the correct ADF patch.
  • The 11.1.2.4.900 readme states WebLogic patch 20780171_1036_Generic (“EJUW”)  is required.  This patch is 2 years old and has been superseded multiple times by newer patches.  The installation consultant needs to perform a search for the correct WebLogic patch.
  • Java, JRockit, WebLogic and Oracle HTTP Server (OHS) are missing the critical security updates previously announced by Oracle for Spectre, Meltdown, Apache Struts, and other vulnerabilities.  The underlying middleware in 11.1.2.4.900 is the same as 11.1.2.4.0.
  • The security roles for Financial Reporting are completely different in 11.1.2.4.900 versus all prior releases; security cannot be migrated from a prior release without manipulating the LCM artifacts via a custom script.  Such a migration would be unlikely to be supported by Oracle. 
 The "Reporting Analysis Framework" node is completely missing.  Security provisioning for Financial Reporting is now tucked underneath "Default Application Group".  The "Explorer" role is removed.

I do like the fact that the number of roles has been significantly reduced, so eventually my position on this will change from "Con" to "Pro", but only after Oracle rolls out a future patch or release that provides a migration path from 11.1.2.4.70x and prior.




  • The Tools->Install menu for the Financial Reporting Studio thick client has been removed.  End-users are “encouraged” to use the Web Studio instead.  The thick client still exists behind the scenes and may be found here:  Oracle/Middleware/EPMSystem11R1/products/financialreporting/install/bin/FinancialReportingStudio.exe
  • Google Chrome has been decertified by Oracle for 11.1.2.4.900 and is no longer supported.
  • The “Open In Studio Preview option” option has been removed in Workspace.
  • The proxy settings for Financial Reporting Web Studio are missing, and must be manually added to the web server’s configuration.
  • The sample reports created in 11.1.2.4.0 and prior versions when deploying the sample “Vision” Planning application do not get created in this new release.
  • Migrating reports from 11.1.2.4.70x into 11.1.2.4.900, via File->Import in Workspace, appears to work, but the reports do not render properly.  Certain members within the reports are instead displayed as the text “UNDEFINED EDGE CELL”.  This must be why the 11.1.2.4.900 README states "create new applications" - I suspect they really mean "create new reports from scratch".  This would be a deal-breaker for many of my clients.
  • For reports with a run-time point of view, the “Preview Point of View” screen is buggy and does not render the hierarchy in question.  The first generation beneath the dimension root is rendered as blank spaces.
For now, I advocate that anyone wishing to upgrade to 11.1.2.4 from a prior release open an SR with Oracle, requesting the pre-11.1.2.4.900 version of the eDelivery download media.  The exception to this would be a pure Essbase-only play, where Financial Reporting isn't in scope.

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